Start-ups and partners in six-month challenge introduce digital workflow to boost adoption of additive manufacturing through digital design & simulation
Royal DSM, a global science-based company in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living, recently presented a digital platform for additive manufacturing at Formnext. The platform, designed by DSM and partners as part of the company’s I AM Tomorrow Challenge, seeks to fill a gap in the additive manufacturing value chain. Now, DSM is looking to attract manufacturers from a wide range of sectors in order to help fine-tune and develop the platform in the coming months.
DSM’s I AM Tomorrow Challenge officially launched in June 2019. In close collaboration with Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence and Ultimaker, DSM extended an invitation to start-ups across the globe to enroll in a unique accelerator program. Out of 74 applicants, six start-ups were selected to help with the development of a new, digital workflow platform: Authentise, Additive Flow, Ecochain, iPoint, Neural Concept, and nTopology. The companies have joined forces over the past three months to co-develop a digital additive manufacturing workflow that translates customers’ needs into manufacturing solutions.
Missing link in the value chain
The purpose of this digital platform is to leverage application, material, and processing knowledge in order to inform manufacturers about the performance, sustainability, and economic viability of additive manufacturing for their specific applications. The companies have focused on a workflow that supports manufacturers in the screening, design, and simulation steps prior to the actual printing of a part. In doing so, the I AM Tomorrow Challenge seeks to fill in a gap that currently exists in the additive manufacturing value chain.
Among other elements the workflow encompasses a material center, topology optimization, and 3D printing performance and process simulation. It actively draws on the strengths of the participating start-ups, as well as on the accumulated 3D printing expertise of DSM, Ultimaker, and Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.
The current iteration of the digital workflow was created in close collaboration with Royal HaskoningDHV. The Dutch-based engineering consultancy acted as a lead customer for the six start-ups as they developed the platform. In the coming months, DSM will extend a hand to the manufacturing industry to include new partners in the development and validation of its digital workflow platform. By doing so, DSM aims to co-create a digital platform that is tailored to the needs of businesses of varying sizes, in different sectors, and using different manufacturing processes.
“Accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing across the globe”
Hugo da Silva, VP Additive Manufacturing DSM: “At DSM, we want to remove common barriers to the adoption of 3D printing. A digital platform, capable of giving manufacturers a detailed and personalized 3D printing workflow, will remove a lot of the complexity that has crept into the industry in recent years. By supporting promising start-ups and working closely together with them and our partners, we are strengthening our 3D printing ecosystem and accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing across the globe.”
Pieter Wolters, Managing Director DSM Venturing: “The I AM Tomorrow challenge is the ninth start-up challenge from DSM, and we have experience nurturing and challenging start-up companies to grow. Through the accelerator program, we get to know the capabilities of the candidates and how they work with other eco-system players, while the start-ups get to know DSM. The accelerator program is a proof of concept for future collaboration, leading to a faster decision process for potential investments and partnerships.”
Additive manufacturing is emerging as a more sustainable, transparent, and cost-effective way to manufacture products by reducing waste and minimizing transportation. DSM helped pioneer the additive manufacturing industry more than 25 years ago with its Somos® products. Now, DSM is working with its partners to stimulate the digital ecosystem that could help accelerate the transition to additive manufacturing methods of production.
DSM aims to develop a commercially viable version of its digital platform in the near future.